Ending the Contagion of Distress

I want to report on a session I gave to my three-year-old son, N- .

N- pushed his sister, T-, down, which often makes me so angry that I have no attention for him. Today, however, I had enough slack to see that he was asking for help with something, and I said, "I can see you're feeling very angry. Who are you angry at?" He answered, "C- pushed me today." So I immediately gave him our large stuffed bear and told him it was C- and that he could do whatever he wanted to her.

N- laughed hard for a few minutes while he threw the bear up in the air so it landed on its face, and I cheered him on. Then T- brought over a toy telephone, and I said, "Oh, it's C- calling." N- made a face into the phone and threw it across the room. When T- brought the phone back to me, I said forcefully into it, "Don't ever push N- again! No way!" That produced gales of laughter. This game went on for at least ten minutes: I would take the phone, tell "C-" not to push N-, hand the phone to N-, and he would throw it across the room, all the time laughing hard. Finally when I handed the phone to him and asked, "Do you want to tell C- anything?" he said clearly and firmly into the phone, "It's not okay to push people." After that he was in a much happier, more cooperative mood and didn't push T- again all afternoon.


Last modified: 2017-05-06 23:35:41-07